Down to Earth Romance

During Ellora’s Cave Publishing’s early years, to write for them was a sign a romance author had “made it.” Many aspiring and seasoned authors wanted to write for Jasmine Jade Enterprises, and the competition for a contract was fierce. Ellora’s Cave was a pioneer of the ebook industry, and shot erotic romance into the heart of mainstream romantic fiction. The company spawned several copycat publishers, and the competition, including the rise of self-publishing, eventually led to its decline. Things got ugly. But my purpose for this farewell post is not to disparage the organization, but to remember the good times.

I wrote for Ellora’s Cave for years under another pen name, and when I decided to go mainstream, and asked for the return of rights to my books, I had no idea I would escape one of the most divisive business collapses in romance publishing history. I was spared the grief of flagging sales, unpaid royalties, and acrimonious departures. My memories of Ellora’s Cave are still filled with days of bright-eyed optimism, their fabulous convention parties, generous gifts and awards to authors, and their boost to my early career. I try to hold on to those thoughts, though my heart goes out to author friends who were hurt by Ellora’s Cave’s downfall.

Here’s a look back at the last of the glory days, during a visit to their offices in Ohio, on the eve of the first Ellora’s Cave RomantiCon in 2009. I found these pictures in an old file on my flash drive, and thought it would be fun to post them.


Ellora’s Cave mobile book trailer, parked inside their Ohio warehouse.


Ellora’s Cave authors tour the print shop, warehouse, and shipping facility that printed and stored our books and filled customer orders. (left to right: Samantha Cayto, Dalton Diaz, Adele Downs, Mari Freeman, Lee Pearce, Nina Pierce, Samantha Kane.)


The print shop and paper roll for the printing press. It was fascinating to watch a book being created.


Our books were stored in the warehouse opposite the print shop.


Printing the pages of a single book.


Producing the cover art.


Cutting and binding the pages into a completed product.


The warehouse where our books were stored.


The SuperStar Award presented to me in 2009 from the publisher for two of my books. (Currently out of print and circulation.)


The official Ellora’s Cave mascot, housed in an enormous glass case inside the entrance to the editorial offices. Personally, I wouldn’t have wanted my office or cubicle anywhere near this snake, but the EC staff didn’t seem to mind.


The Ellora’s Cavemen cover models and their choreographer. The Cavemen attended all our author events and conventions for readers, and were a lot of fun to hang out with.

Farewell, everyone. Good-bye to a golden era.

(Photos copyright Adele Downs and may not be copied or reproduced without permission.)

Comments on: "Ellora’s Cave Publishing – Postmortem and Farewell" (2)

  1. Thanks for visiting and for your message. I probably knew your friend. Back in the day, we
    had an active author chat loop on Yahoo and socialized at conferences and conventions.
    Fortunately, for me, in a stroke of good timing, I’d already left the company and gotten the
    rights back to my books before things soured. Unfortunately, author friends got hurt
    during the implosion. I’m still in touch with many of them, five years later.



  2. LolaMontez2 said:

    My best friend wrote for Ellora’s Cave for several years. It was the high point of her life. She passed last year (2020) and the scandals and lack of getting paid devastated her, to the degree she stopped writing. I still have some of the physical books she had published there through their “Cerridwen” line. I also have some photos of her at what I believe was the Romanticon — she won some award there I believe — the authors were escorted on the stage by hunky male models that posed for the cover art!

    I can only tell you that my friend’s impression was that though the publishing and authors and success was all very real for maybe 10 years…. in the end, Jaid Black (Tina Ensler) appears to have absconded with the profits and left a lot of authors devastated. Blaming Amazon (not that I have any sympathy for Amazon at all) really deflects blame for incompetent leadership and greed.


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